The Entrance Arc of Wat Chaiyamangalaram (Wat Chai) Thai Buddhist Temple at Burmese Lane, Penang
A tourist visiting Wat Chaiyamangalaram and the opposite Dhammikarama Burmese Temple can be a very different experience from visiting a Thai temple in native Thailand.The main difference is the mix of various cultures of different religion as well as schools of Buddhism. Wat Chaiya and the not distant away Wat Buppharam blend local practices, merging the likes of Thai, Indian and Chinese origin rather than just Thai essence in design, statues expressions as well as decoration. You can called it unique in the sense where here in Penang, the locals believing in a more common state under the roof of Buddhism where differences of both Theravada Buddhists and Mahayana Buddhism is less distinguished than any parts of the world. And this perhaps has made visiting a Thai or temples in Penang more meaningful.

The Guardian and Serpeant images at the entrance to Wat Chai
The entrance to the Wat Chaiya retains many characteristic of a typical Thai temple with fine raw Thai details on roofing corners, linings and door/windows decorations.

Outside the main hall that hosts the Reclining Buddha, you will find familiar Mythical figures and religious icons that resembles many designs found in a Thai temple in Thailand. Over the years, the spacious compound provides rooms for expansion and many secondary local legendary monks figures have also been erected. The front section of Wat Chaiya is familiar with visitors with the few lanes that leads into the temple by few pairs of flying serpents as well as traditional Guards of Thai design (similar to those found at the
Royal Grand Palace in Bangkok). Due to population of Chinese is a dominant community in the State of Penang and Buddhism is widely practiced. Many individual donors have founded ways in helping upkeeping and maintenance of Wat Chaiyamangalaram. But more importantly, some of the wealthier religious-concious Penang folks also provide development in making the temple compound for other additions. Partly, Wat Chaiya is a place to host the ashes of deceased (Behind the Reclining Buddha as well as for those who prefers earthing, behind the rear section of the temple's compound has a cemetery). The attachment and bond of family on the deceased may have played a greater role in helping progress in the development of this temple). Today, I can witness many additional structures have been built at the vacant compound and all these have provided other reasons to visit this magnificent temple.

The Chedi, Pagoda at Wat Chaiyamangalaram (Wat Chai) Thai Buddhist Temple, Penang

A newly installed four faced Buddha at Wat Chaiyamangalaram (Wat Chai) Thai Buddhist Temple
An all bronze Luong Phor Thuat / Thuad image at Wat Chaiyamangalaram (Wat Chai) Thai Buddhist Temple
A Chinaraj Buddha Image in Bronze
An unknown image in Indian outfit

Monks quarters at the side of Wat Chai
Many visitors or tourists to Wat Chaiyamangalaram could have just spent their time inside the main Hall of the reclining Buddha image which is the main attraction and most often discarded the surrounding. For an instance, the monks squarer at the rear section is a typical Nyonya style design (more towards to the Kampong Malay). The Pagoda (Chedi) recently has been repainted with an all yellow outfit and you can easily identify the location via the main trunk road outside Burmah Lane. To most locals, this may be a commmon sight but to a foreign tourists, the typical Malay/Nyonya style house can be a good introduction to local living. Further, the side and rear section have many other images that carry Indian influences which also mirrors a very unique kind of local multi-racial living practices.

Multi hands Buddhist Images at entrance Sepients images at the entrance A new contruction of side temple to host the Buddha image A small Pagoda at the side of the new temple structure at Wat Chaiyamangalaram (Wat Chai) Thai Buddhist Temple The rear section locates many Buddha images of Indian flavour
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Assisted by: Stan SL Thong <>; Tony EH Kang <>; Raymond Goh (

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Credit: To all the good people who have contributed their own experience, resources or those who are kind enough in granting us the permission to use their images that appeared on this site. Note: Certain content and images appeared on this site were taken by using a Canon PowerShot Pro-1 digital camera. Some materials appeared on this site were scanned from some leaflets, brochures or publications published by Wat Pak Nam and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their work for educational purposes. The creator of the site will not be responsible for any discrepancies that may arise from such dispute except rectifying